A note from Hack the Hood: We are so inspired by our partner organizations! TeenForce and Silicon Valley Children's Fund run bootcamps specifically for foster youth. We wanted to share Enrique's story because we think his persistence in the face of difficult challenges shows the resilience we want to celebrate in all our youth. We're proud to partner with TeenForce and Silicon Valley Children's fund for bring the Hack the Hood model to foster youth in the Bay Area.
Partner post from: TeenForce
On Saturday, December 10th, our STEM program, a partnership with the Silicon Valley Children's Fund, had its graduation ceremony to honor the youth who participated in the program during Fall 2016. It was the first time that all three cohorts (Museum Experience, Robotics, and Hack the Hood) came together for a joint celebration, and we had the biggest turn out yet!
Although having such a great turn out is always exciting, the biggest success of the event is the graduation of one of our youth, Enrique, who participated in the Hack the Hood cohort in Gilroy this fall. Getting to the STEM program graduation has not been an easy ride for Enrique, but he fought through the challenges and completed the program, designing a website for the Opportunity Youth Academy in Gilroy.
Enrique's biggest barrier to success has been finding stable housing. Just before the last STEM class, Enrique's housing issues intensified and he sold the laptop that he had been given as part of the STEM program in order to afford to stay in a motel. Since he no longer had a laptop to use to work on his website, he contemplated dropping out of the program, but Opportunity Youth Program Coordinator Stephany Fuentes encouraged him to finish the program. And it is a good thing she did because at graduation, we surprised him with a brand new laptop to replace the one he had sold!
With his new laptop, Enrique is working alongside Opportunity Youth Academy Principal Nicky Ramos-Beban, Ph.D. to improve his website and intends to finalize the website by January 30th. He also started working at a new job, which he found with the help of TeenForce, and re-enrolled in the Opportunity Youth Academy to earn his high school diploma.
Our TeenForce team is so incredibly proud of Enrique for fighting through the daily challenges he faces and never giving up! We know he has a bright future ahead of him, and we are all excited to see where he ends up. Congratulations, Enrique, for all of your successes not just this past semester but throughout your life!
Enrique's website will not go live until January 30th, but check out these other websites designed by youth in our Hack the Hood Fall 2016 cohort: GinaLopez.com, DG Communications, Snowie Shaved Ice, MONEYdawg $olution$, and Ciel.
Hack the Hood Blog
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